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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    769

    Default Recombining a split?

    This was probably a bad plan from the start, but it seemed to make sense at the time, right up until a friend offered us a VSH nuc.

    What had been our stronger hive evidently had their 2-month-old hygenic queen run out of gas. Her brood started getting spotty and a queen cell showed up. A week later the brood was very spotty and we had about 7 supercedure cells.

    We'd been advised that they would probably swarm, so we did a deep inspection looking for the frames with queen cells and for the original queen, planning to split her off into a small hive. Never found her. Plan B, we took two frames with 2 supercedure cells each, some brood, and some stores, and made a small split. We figured we'd see what they could raise on their own, and maybe requeen one or both later if needed.

    But then a friend who has been trying to rear queens said he had already built us a nuc with a new VSH queen, whose mother is a bona-fide egg-laying machine. We keep our little apiary in a small bear-resistant cage, and our max capacity is 3 hives. So if we take the nuc, the split we just made is surplus.

    So here's the question: should we simply reintegrate those frames into the original hive? The original is not overcrowded and this is only three frames. By now, each hive probably has a virgin queen. We could try to pinch the one from the smaller hive, or should we let them fight it out like Elizabeth and Mary? My guess is that the workers have not been apart long enough (1 week) to make a big fuss over reintroduction.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,243

    Default Re: Recombining a split?

    It sounds as though the queen turned up missing and emergency cells were made. In her absence hatching brood made the pattern look spotty. Would be rare for a young well bred queen to peter out so quickly.
    Yes you can recombine the hives. Without knowing the timeline it is imposable to predict weather you would have a virgin, bred queen or none at all in either hive. I do realize that not every beekeeper has the desire to increase hive numbers. but if both splits are doing well why not let them grow and have 3 hives. You can always sell one later. people will buy them right up until the snow flies, and maybe after.
    if you decide to combine, you will have to find and capture one of the queen. I would then do a newspaper combine. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    769

    Default Re: Recombining a split?

    Ten days back when we noticed some of the brood frames were spotty, she was still alive and with no apparent injury. The original nuc queens are Olivarez Carniolans ... I doubt they'd provide an old queen but perhaps she was not well bred or had some other problem. Stuff happens, but yeah, having one fail so quickly after a good start is not what we expected. Since they'd already made at least one queen cell, I expect the bees knew the problem a lot better than we did, and were dealing with it.

    As it is, we have the two original hives plus the split, which would be fine since we have room for three. But now we've been offered the free VSH nuc ... not just hard to turn down, but maybe even rude, since it was raised for us, and almost certainly more vigorous than the 3-frame split. So it is a space issue.

    Which I probably should fix. Four post holes and some sweat, and I could expand that bear cage to double capacity. I was planning to do that as a winter project, since it involves digging in front of the hives.

    That was really the question ... should I bother with a newspaper combine. They've hardly touched the medium honey super, so I guess I could pull that and put the deep the spit is in on the original hive for a while, and sacrifice the classified page. Makes it three deeps ... I can deal with it but my wife would be straining at that height. We have woodenware to spare for the new nuc. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Recombining a split?

    "Which I probably should fix. Four post holes and some sweat, and I could expand that bear cage to double capacity"

    That is the best solution, always go for more hives. :-)
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 12 hives / 2 nd Year / 4 TF - 8 T{OAV}

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    769

    Default Re: Recombining a split?

    This thread may give some hint as to why a young hoity-toity queen might fail. As good a guess as any.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...North-Carolina

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    769

    Default Re: Recombining a split?

    We just got back from inspecting something like 20 hives. Our mentor invited all his mentees for a big day of inspections, combinations, moving frames with queen cells, adding supers, removing supers, and otherwise tormenting the ill-tempered bees of two apiaries.

    We already knew a couple of these hives were apparently queenless. By the end of the day, several more had been found with supercedure cells and no laying queen, or worse, layiing workers.

    What they all had in common was the same problem we had. Queens from Northern California, introduced this spring, had failed. For the group as a whole, evidently 7 of 8 queens obtained from there this spring have failed, and summer ain't over yet. Whassup?

    One idea floated today is that these suppliers are breeding queens that make queens, since what they sell is queens.

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